UK Issued 23 UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visas to main applicants during the COVID-19 lockdown quarter
Investors with at least £2 million, who are willing to invest in the UK, can apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) Visa which allows an individual and their family to remain in the UK for an initial period of 3 years. The investment may be made into share capital or loan capital in an active trading UK company.
The UK has provided indefinite leave to remain (ILR), often opening the doors to citizenship, for 20 years for high net worth individuals and their families. Whilst many other countries have similar schemes, the UK offers one of the safest, opportunity-rich migration destinations in the world with an amazing culture and history. In addition to access to the free healthcare system offered by the NHS, for those families with children, the UK’s education system is second to none and is home to the world’s best universities. Another of the key benefits of this visa is that there are no specific English language requirements, a hurdle often seen as a disincentive to foreign investors.
A recent data release by the office of national statistics states that 23 Tier 1 Investor Visas were issued to main applicants during the COVID-19 lockdown quarter. Whilst there has been a “shift in migration habits” there has been a more pronounced change in priorities for migrants as different nations handle the virus and demonstrate the strengths of their healthcare systems. Following the end of the Brexit transition period, there is likely to be a spike in demand as those families and individuals who have been assessing the viability of moving will begin to gain confidence. The Home Office did not refuse any applicants during the quarter which illustrates that there is a multi-year trend of falling rates of refusal.
The nationality distribution of those individuals gaining UK Tier 1 (Investor) Visas spans Chinese, Hong Kong, Russian, Qatari and Taiwanese nationals. With the Hong Kong BNO visa offering on the horizon, prospective applicants are scrutinising the opportunities offered by the UK, paying close attention to the uncertainties surrounding when the education sector will open up and the recent exam troubles across GCSE and A level results. The decision to relocate involves consideration of a multitude of factors, education of children being one of the most crucial for those families with children. It is however evident that the numbers of property acquisitions in the UK by Hong Kong investors, particularly across London and Manchester are on the rise, with the UK government taking steps to make the market more attractive by cutting Stamp Duty.
As a significant source of foreign direct investment, the UK Tier 1 Visa still remains extremely popular with international investors who are looking to settle in a country with a fantastic culture, a stable political and economic system and a country that boasts one of the highest rankings for ease of doing business in the world.